BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick buildup of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This is an important step toward facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption. This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161129005783/en/ The projected ultra-fast charging network with power levels up to 350 kilowatt will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The buildup is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most battery electric vehicle drivers to date. The experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations. The network will be based on Combined Charging System standard technology. The planned infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kilowatt. Vehicles engineered to accept the full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today's battery electric vehicles. The network is intended to serve all Combined Charging System-equipped vehicles to facilitate battery electric vehicle adoption in Europe. BMW Group"This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move toward electric mobility,"says Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMWAG."The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility."Daimler AG"The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than 10 fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars."The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle."Ford Motor Company"A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving," says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. "Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people's lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for consumers across Europe to own electrified vehicles."AUDI AG"We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging," says Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of AUDI AG. "Reliable, fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation, we want to boost broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift toward emission-free driving."Porsche AG"There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions," says Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG. "Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As an automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles, but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well." The automobile manufacturers intend to make substantial investments to create the network, underscoring each company's belief in the future of electric mobility. While the founding partners - BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group - will be equal partners in the joint venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to participate to help establish convenient charging solutions for battery electric vehicle customers. The joint venture also intends to cooperate with regional partners to ensure a quick network realization.